Remember ’99 On the Beach Where We Lay?

Here’s some sweet and swoonsome Lover’s Rock for Valentine’s Day and a gig review to boot.

I went to see Hollie Cook at Gorilla on Sunday night- I didn’t really get any decent photographs of the gig but earlier on in the day I saw this pair of shoes hanging from a tree in Old Trafford. It was snowing heavily when I set out and it kept it up on the way into town, not the best preparation for an evening of reggae and tropical pop. Gorilla is a brilliant gig venue, inside the railway arches on Whitworth Street, great sound and small and intimate. Despite the conditions outside and most people turning up in several layers of winter clothing Hollie’s joyfulness at seeing a full room and subsequent set could warm the heart of the most curmudgeonly gig goer. The band are tight as you like and aren’t afraid of wandering off into dubbed out versions during the second half of the songs, the delay pedal on top of the keyboards getting frequent use, bouncing chords and sounds around the room. Much of the set is taken from the new album, Vessel Of Love- this one, the single, sounding especially good, Hollie’s voice floating on top of the band’s reggaeton groove…

Hollie has released 3 albums now (plus a dub version of the debut), sung and toured with the reformed Slits and supported The Stone Roses at Heaton Park in 2013. She should be playing to bigger crowds than the couple of hundred who have turned out on Sunday night, a wide mix of ages from early twenties and students through to those in their sixties. They finished with a magnificent dubbed out version of this to close the set.



Stay Alive

Hollie Cook has a new album out now- Vessel Of Love. I haven’t got it yet but her previous two albums, the dub album done with Prince Fatty and various singles have all been favourites of mine. Her lovely sing-song voice and Lover’s Rock/pop reggae is top stuff. The new album was trailed by two songs last year and recently by a remix from South London’s reggae outfit Hempolics. Grippa Laybourne’s lo fi reggae stylings strip back Hollie’s original track, adding some bounce and some 70s rhythms. This was available as a free download via Soundcloud but seems to have vanished – the track to stream and the free download. Hopefully posting it here won’t get me in to trouble.

Stay Alive (Hempolics Remix)

Now It Is I Who Possess The Cosmic Power Which Once Was His!

Doctor Doom, perennial enemy of the Fantastic Four, has frazzled the Surfer and is now ‘invincibly superior…  and has attained powers without limit– power enough to challenge Galactus himself!’ We all know how this ends- overconfidence is always the downfall of a supervillain. Even Victor von Doom.

Jack Kirby’s artwork doesn’t make me think of reggae too often- Lee Perry’s Super Ape sleeve art and a few others aside- but in a week of new music today I offer you the honeyed voice of Hollie Cook and some wonderfully poppy reggae vibes on this single Freefalling which comes out tomorrow. An album, Vessel Of Love, produced by Youth is following in January.

Bedroom Eyes

I  was playing Prince Fatty’s Supersize this weekend, an eleven song compilation of some of his best stuff, not very autumnal music admittedly. These two dubs are outstanding- Bedroom Eyes Dub has echo, rimshots, organ and bass.

That Very Night In Dub has the lovely voice of Hollie Cook, a sound that could grace any record.


Hollie Cook’s debut album was one of my favourites from 2011 and she has a new one ready to release in May (fan funded via pledges). This song has appeared ahead of it. A lolloping Prince Fatty reggae beat, some lovely strings and a sultry Lover’s Rock vocal from Hollie. Perfect timing too- today is the spring equinox, this is an early taste of summer.

From the dub version of her first lp…

Sugarwater Dub


This Hollie Cook and Prince Fatty cover version has got everything needed to make a great little dubby reggae song- snaking melodica, dub bass, some echo, sound effects and a lovely vocal. All the boxes ticked. I could listen to this all day.

You Know I’m No Good

The Fatty Fatty Sound

Bagging Area loves the reggae and dub of Prince Fatty. He’s currently in the States with Hollie Cook (whose album from two years ago was a joy, as was the offspring dub version lp). Prince Fatty has a ton of stuff up at Soundcloud, including a stream of the full ska/surf/spaghetti Western lp he did with The Mutant HiFi, The Return Of Gringo. It is as good as that sounds, chock full of skank, twang and samples…

There’s also this, a mixtape by Dave Bongo, to celebrate the release of Fatty’s Supersize album back in 2010, including the man himself, Danny Ray, Dennis Brown, Barrngton Levy and Cutty Ranks and others…

Or how about this one, highly recommended, a recent 45 minute live set- amongst it all you get Hollie Cook singing reggae versions of Kraftwerk’s The Model and Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good, a cover of Cypress Hill’s Insane In the Brain and Eric B and Rakim chucked in the mix as well, free download…

There’s loads more at Soundcloud. Get searching, get skanking.